Accordion Player

    Accordion Player

  • 48 x 16,5 x 17 cm
    Valentine Prax Bequest, 1981
  • [1922 - 1926]
  • Bronze, proof 2/5, Susse foundry, Paris
  • Inv. MZS 072
  • Musée Zadkine
  • Room 3

Attracted from his earliest years by the idea of using music as a source of inspiration, the theme of the musician recurs very regularly in his work, both sculpted and graphic. “In my compositions, I often introduce musical instruments.Their tonality and murmuring attracts me through obscure forces. The musicality which they radiate and their original form harmonises with the human body which I consider as an instrument”.

He himself played the accordion. André Kertész, a photographer of Hungarian origin, photographed him in his studio playing this instrument. In 1918, Zadkine made the acquaintance of Stravinsky and the Group of Six (Milhaud, Auric, Poulenc, Taillefer, Duret and Honegger).  On the subject of their music, he wrote: "Their musical compositions adapted perfectly to my sculpture: an identical ambiance, the parallel nature of our intentions and our search for the new in the spirit of forms and sounds”. The modelling technique which governed the creation of this sculpture differs from the direct carving which Zadkine subscribed to. It was the time when Zadkine was re-engaging with the pleasure of working with clay which he had experienced as a child in Russia. “I began to look for other forms in the clay. At this time, I put aside the “primitive” forms which I had until then imposed on stone and wood.

This work displays a clearly Cubist orientation. Zadkine recognised the influence which the paintings of Picasso and Braque had on him. In this context, the accordion is more than a simple accessory; it is an artistic element at the service of an aesthetic: with its interplay of lines, it structures the composition. The sharp edges of the different planes accentuate the geometrical effect. Convex forms appear for the first time in this sculpture, which would become one of the formal characteristics of the alternation between concave and convex forms which he perpetuated in his work. This Accordion PLayer is one of Zadkine's very first works to have been cast in bronze.